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Beating the Winter Blues

Our gorgeous dietitan and diabetes educator shares her latest tips on beating those cold winter blues!

Let's face it! The winter blues are real.
As the days become shorter, the nights are longer and  we head into our winter woolies, we are often in search for comfort to fill that void...true? 

 Guess what? Comfort in food is often what we as a society find warms our heart and calms our mind....But! only temporarily, till we realise this is not sustainable nor is it healthy...and by then it's almost summer and we've established a new (or ongoing) behaviour around food.
 
If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that behaviour is not like a switch..we can't just turn it on💡 and turn it off. However what we can do, is be aware of the triggers and warning signs to take steps in advance..

Quick, realisic tips - let's be pro-active!

1. Can-do attitude⛹️‍♀️
-Choosing our attitude helps us focus on what we can do rather than what we can't. This can filter itself into other parts of ourlifestyle too. For example, if that 
outdoor morning walk does not feel appealing when it's dark and cold outside, remind yourself of how good you feel when you do it. This can be all you need to get up and do it. Alternatively find an alternative like hopping off a couple of stops earlier for work, or parking a little further and walking or anything else. However doing nothing is establishing a behaviour that can be difficult to change. 

2. Mindful eating🍉
- On scale of 1 to 10, if one is so uncomfortably hungry, that you can eat anything in sight and ten is so uncomfortably full that you're about  to "pop", a good place to aim for in hunger is three and fullness is seven. That way you're in a good place either side. 
-Savour the food and every mouthful as food is made to be enjoyed. 

3. Watch out for the vulnerable times.⌚
-We know ourselves best and we all have triggers that can set off a behaviour around food. That morning tea scone with jam will all of the sudden be so appealing, especially if we haven't had breakfast (as it was all abit of a rush heading out the door in the morning). Aiming for regular meals and avoiding skipping them is a good place to be.

-Supermarket shopping when we're hungry is a popular one. Although we don't mean to shop when we're hungry, we can often fall into this and all of the sudden find ourselves buying things not on our list (if we have one) and missing things that are on it .There may also be a larger bill to reflect this.

4.Planning meals a week ahead. 📋
-By the time we get home from work to then decide what we're going to eat can sometimes be a recipe for snacking, nibbling etc. This can drag into the rest of the evening. Aim to at least have a pencilled in plan of what meals you intend to eat throughout the week. It can also benefit from a cost saving perspective, as you will have a shopping list to go by. Bonus!

5.Find a hobby/activity that will leave you feeling refreshed,relaxed and energized. Here are some examples. 🎵🏓

   * Indoor sport or swimming 
   * Arts and crafts
   * Playing or watching music
   * Reading
   * Volunteering at a local school, community 

6. Seeking professional advice 👨‍⚕️
 Although these tips may be useful, we may still find ourselves feeling low in mood. If this is the case, please seek support as there is no need for you to go through this alone. You may know of someone to talk to, however your family Dr or other caring health professionals will be able direct you. 

For more info
- Healthy eating guidelines
 https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines

- Physical activity recommendation
 https://www.ndss.com.au/physical-activity 

- Guide for meal planning
http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/resources/meal-planning

- Beyond Blue
 https://www.beyondblue.org.au

Happy living everyone 🍒

Sherie Sourial- APD, CDE

What is pre-diabetes

Have you been recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes and not sure what to do? It can be quite overwhelming but help is at hand and you can take charge straight away by changing your diet and increasing, or starting, exercise. According to Diabetes Australia pre-diabetes means you have a higher blood sugar level than is normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

There are generally no symptons of pre-diabetes and it is diagnosed via a blood test. This particular blood test is a 'fasting' blood test (meaning no eating or drinking for 12 hours prior). It's easier to have this type of blood test early in the morning so you don't get too hungry!

There are ways to manage pre-diabetes and indeed, to reverse the diagnosis. The most common ways are:

- revise your diet by excluding sugary, high carb products like cakes, lollies, soft drinks and unhealthy take away food. Find some tips here on what to eat and what to avoid.

- increase or start, an exercise program. Choose an exercise you like, perhaps just walking to start with, and get started with 10 minutes a day and increase it each week until you're exercising approximately 30 minutes a day, most days.You can find some easy exercise tips here.

To help start your weight loss, or healthy eating journey we've recently introduced our 3 Meal per day Gourmet Box which gives you breakfast, lunch and dinner for 7 days. 

Enjoy!

Pre-diabetes home delivered meals

 

Low carb spuds - what's the story?

Today we're sharing Nikki's post about low carbohydrate potatoes which are a relatively recent newbie to the grocery store. Nikki has T1 diabetes and is passionate about foods. She says:

Low carb potatoes

'I don’t know about you, but I crave potatoes a lot! They taste great and are really versatile, but the down-side is they are also quite high in carbohydrate. Over the years I haven’t eaten a great amount of potatoes, because for me, it’s just not worth the amount of insulin I need to counteract the carbs.

But recently a couple of versions of 25% lower-carb potatoes have hit out shelves and can be found at most local supermarkets. When I first saw these though, I was a bit sceptical, because I couldn’t understand how on earth you could naturally grow a potato that was low in carbs.

A potato with 25% less carbs? How is that possible?

I assumed they had to be genetically modified, so I delved deeper to find out more. According to Foodwatch, it turns out these potatoes are actually a particular variety of potato that comes from cross-pollination, with a 20 to 30 per cent shorter growing period compared with most regular varieties. Yay, I was over the moon, so I decided to give them a try.

So far, I’ve come across two options of lower-carb potato including the Zerella Spud Lite and the NutriSpud Carisma potato.

Both of these brands are pretty easy to find and are available at most local supermarkets. In terms of carbohydrate quantity, both brands are on par, with Spud Lite having 22.2g of carbohydrate per serving size of 250g, and the Carisma at 22.0g per serving size of 250g.

While 25% less carbs is good, it’s still worth watching your serving size, as the total portions can add up depending on how much you’re eating, so watch your serving size.

If you’re after Carisma potatoes, I found I did have to search the shopping centre shelves a bit harder because the packaging is not overtly shouting, “low-carb”, so when they’re next to other packets of regular potatoes it can be tricky to know they’re lower in carbs unless you’re already familiar with the brand.

In any case, these little beauties are really tasty, fluffy and creamy and the texture is similar to the waxier varieties of regular potatoes such as Desiree. They are small and white in colour and very similar in look to chat potatoes. They are great served in pretty much any form including:

  • baked
  • boiled
  • mashed
  • microwave

I haven’t yet tried them fried as chips, but I hope to give this a go soon.

For more information, check out Spud Lite and Carisma and don’t miss my Lower-carb Potato Dauphine post coming up soon, which makes great use of these yummy potatoes'.

You can read Nikki's blog here 

Introducing Pudding!

You asked for low sugar sweet treats and we've brought them to you.

We're now stocking the Slim Secret range of puddings. With 3 delicous flavours to choose from, they are a generous and filling size - just perfect for dessert and you don't need to feel guilty! Protein puddings are:

  • Gluten free
  • Under 100 calories per serve
  • Good source of protein, calcium and fibre
  • Low fat
  • Naturally sweetened
  • No artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners
  • No preservatives

Choose from Chocolate and Coconut, Strawberry or Salted Caramel - trust us - these are divine!

And this week we're giving away samples from our Skinnybik range of biscuits with every order. Check out the range here.

New products coming

Managing diabetes doesn't mean you can't enjoy snacks throughout the days, or desserts at night.

So we're introducing a delicious range of bars and puddings in the next couple of weeks. There are a range of delicious flavours - think Salted Caramel, Strawberry and Choc Coconut! All approved by our dietitian and all low in carbs, calories, sugars and salt.

When choosing snacks the NDSS has this handy fact sheet to help you choose what's best for you. You can read or download it here.

Diabetes Australia has some handy snack ideas here too using fresh fruit and veggies.

You'll see the Slim Secrets new products soon on our website - we'll keep you updated!

We're excited to be featured in Diabetes Matters

We were so fortunate to be featured in the quarterly issue of Diabetes WA magazine, Diabetes Matters. It came out in March and we've just recieved a copy. Elly and I were happy to share our story with diabetes, with readers. Sometimes it helps just to know there are others out there managing their own diabetes in different ways.

The publicity has been wonderful for us too and we've had a huge surge in lovely WA customers ordering our meals. 

Thank you Diabetes WA.Visit their website here.

A digital copy of the magazine is available here.

Some of our favourite reads

We love reading great blogs and get a lot of information about how other people manage their diabetes whilst going about daily life. 

There don't seem to be a lot of T2 blogs but some of our favourite Australian bloggers are Frank, Renza and Nikki.

Frank writes a really interesting blog and talks about how he manages his diabetes. You can read his blog here: (He also wrote a glowing review on our products recently for which we are very grateful).

Renza is a diabetes advocate and also manages her own T1 diabetes. She is funny, informative and honest about her sometimes struggles. You can read her blog here.

Nikki has recently started a fab food blog. She also manages her own T1 diabetes and is a Diabetes Educator. We'll be sharing some of her recipes here on our blog but in the meantime you can read her blog here.

Enjoy the read - we sure do!

A glowing review of our products

We sent Frank some meals to try with no expectation that he would write about them on his blog. We were really grateful when he did. Here's what he said.https://www.type1writes.com/

Today I’m thrilled to introduce Leonie and Elly, a mother and daughter team from Melbourne who created Diabetes Meals OnlineI’ve known of them for quite some time thanks to social media, and today they’ve taken some time out to chat with me about their connection to diabetes and the business that came from it.

Frank: So, you’re a mother and daughter team. Can you tell us a little about your connection to diabetes?

Leonie: Elly, my daughter, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2013 – a complete shock and we both struggled with the diagnosis for the first 6 months. I thought I must have done something wrong during pregnancy and she was in shock – we knew nothing about diabetes back then. She had 4 hospitalisations in ICU in the first 18 months and she is now managing really well and hasn’t been to hospital in a couple of years. I bought her a Dario about a year ago which she loves. She is too old for the funded CGM and pump but we intend to get her one as soon as we can.

Frank: You’ve since established Diabetes Meals Online together. Where did the inspiration for that come from?

Leonie: We both hate cooking and found trying to read the nutrition information panel of every ingredient really tiring. Elly and I, and my dad, who loved cooking, decided to try and make meals with clearly colour coded carbs and sugars to make meal times simpler for people managing diabetes. We bought a dietitian on board to design a strict nutritional criteria and a couple of years later bought an Educator on board just to check that our message was ethical and not offending anyone.

It has been quite a journey but late last year we finally found the right manufacturer for our meals – and can now deliver all over Australia (we had heaps of customers and health professionals begging us to deliver Aust wide from the beginning but we were only doing fresh meals around Melbourne – now I’m excited to be able to go Aust wide!)

Frank: Diet can be a pretty controversial topic in the diabetes community. What sort of dietary inspiration or guidelines have you drawn upon in creating your own product?

Leonie: Yes it sure can and we want to remain ethical and trustworthy thus our dietitian and diabetes educator advise us on all things medical. I follow lots of diabetes groups and am pretty active on social media watching what authorities are posting and staying up to date. We never, ever give medical advice – we always point people back to their own health professional for individual advice. We don’t (and would never) claim our meals help manage diabetes – but simply make meal time choice easier.

Frank: I’ve seen that your meals are pressure cooked, sealed and can be stored in the pantry for up to two years. Could you tell us a bit more about the process involved in producing the meals?

Leonie: Yes, it’s called Retort and is very popular worldwide. We are a bit behind here in Aus but Heinz use the same process for their soups and baby foods. All the fresh ingredients are put into the special pouch which is then sealed. They are then pressure cooked in a huge pressure cooker. This locks in nutrition, flavour and aroma and makes them commercially sterile meaning they have the long shelf life and don’t need refrigeration (until opened).

Frank: What has been the most valuable thing for you both in terms of living with diabetes?

Leonie: Hmm – tough one. I think for Elly, over the past couple of years, she has realised that it is not going to stop her living her life the way she wants – she just has to deal with things that people without diabetes would never even think about. For me it has been offering a meal option for others to help make that meal time easier – there is enough to deal with in diabetes and when I read all the customers ‘thanks for providing such a valuable service’ I’m really touched – and proud!

***

Leonie also sent me some meal samples to try, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I have never used a meal service before.

The meals arrive pressure cooked and sealed, and can simply be kept on hand in the pantry until needed. Heating up is as simple as making a small perforation in one of the top corners of the packet to allow for steam to escape, and then placing in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.

Carbohydrates, sugar content and calories are at the forefront of the packaging, along with the usual nutrition information panel. The ingredient list was also very easy to read!

The meals are clearly designed to meet the body’s energy needs and nutrition criteria, and include a balance of carbohydrate, fat and protein in each serve. The carbohydrate content ranged from 19 to 30g per meal, which probably won’t be an option for those following low carb diets. The meals are gluten free, however, which is a great option for type 1s with intolerances or coeliac disease.

Chunky Italian Meatballs in Herbed Tomato Sauce.

Chilli Con Carne with Brown Rice

After cautiously inspecting, preparing and smelling this strange new product, I was pleasantly surprised. The flavours were there and it tasted like a freshly prepared meal. The seasonings were a little strong for my liking when I tried the meatballs, however my second meal of Chilli Con Carne was much more enjoyable. I’ve still got the Mild Butter Chicken to try.

You can find Leonie and Elly’s range of meals available at diabetesmealsonline.com.au. They deliver Australia wide.

Disclosure: Leonie sent me three meal samples to try. There was no expectation that I would blog about Diabetes Meals Online, and all thoughts expressed here are my own! 

Franks blog can be found here

What are the 5 food groups anyway?

We know that the key to eating well is to enjoy food from each of the 5 food groups every day - here are the five food groups.

Eatforhealth.gov.au advises:

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of the key nutrients of that food group.  For example, the key nutrients of the milk, yogurt, cheese and alternatives food group include calcium and protein, while the fruit group is a good source of vitamins, especially vitamin C.

To meet the nutrient requirements essential for good health, you need to eat a variety from each of the five food groups daily, in the recommended amounts.  It is not necessary to eat from each food group at every meal. In fact, in some instances, you only need to eat some of the foods in each food group a couple of times a week.

Eat well, splurge a little occasionally, and enjoy!

 

Nurturing our body from the inside out.

As we follow on from our recent post on the Portion plates, here's some sound advice from our lovely dietitian Sherie.

Lets admit it, we're all searching for the right balance of enjoying our food, losing weight and still remaining healthy. 

The gardening analogy; Snipping weeds at the surface versus pulling weeds out from the root.

There is so much out there tapping into the surface (eg,cut out all carbs, no actually its all on the fat, what about just raw foods, what about no grains, etc etc).Whilst all these may promote change, what we're really after is sustainable long-term change. If we're wanting to do what's best for our body, we need to invest in time - small steps at a time to nurture our body from the inside out if we are to achieve sustainable changes.

- As we pull out the summer harvest and plan for the next season's crop, we must pull out the crop, remove weeds, turn the soil, fertilize and put the right nutrients and environment for the new seedlings.

- How about our bodies?

1.Take it back to basics and set the right environment. Everyone has different needs, preferences and tolerances. A good place to start is ensuring we're putting a balance of nutrients into our body. More info on www.eatforhealth.gov.au

2. Variety is the spice of life. Although we are creatures of habit, we need variety so we can sustain this lifestyle. Mix and match and alter things around. Your dietitian can help suggest variety whilst still maintaining your daily nutritional intake.


Remember to ensure longterm change, working on the inside will reflect out the outside.🌷

Happy living everyone

Sherie Sourial

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